Not Your Average French Communist Mormon: A Short History of Louis A. Bertrand


June 22, 2010 by The Mormon Worker

By Richard McClellan

“The events of my life have been such . . . that my Autobiography, if ever I shall publish such a thing, will certainly form one of the most singular & romantic books of the age.”

One of the most colorful European converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the nineteenth century, Louis Alphonse Bertrand has not been recognized by many LDS historians as an individual worthy of attention.

A world traveler by the age of thirty, a member of the people’s committee in the French Revolution of 1848, the political editor of
the largest communist periodical in Paris, an associate of Etienne Cabet, and persona non grata [a person who is unacceptable or unwelcome] to the French government, Bertrand certainly made a political name for himself in France. He was also a fierce proponent of the Latter-day Saint cause there, serving in three mission presidencies, translating the Book of Mormon and other Church literature into the French language, preaching to Victor Hugo, authoring numerous books and articles, and appealing to Louis Napoleon III for permission to preach the tenets of the LDS faith.

You can read the rest of the article here.

2 thoughts on “Not Your Average French Communist Mormon: A Short History of Louis A. Bertrand

  1. Robert Poort says:

    A very interesting and remarkable detail:
    As French Mission President Louis A. Bertrand was the first to dispatch missionaries to Belgium in 1861, he was therefore in fact the founder of the Church in Belgium.
    In 2011 the Church celebrates 150 years Mormonism in both Belgium and The Netherlands and it will be interesting to read in the press that a very prominent communist founded the Church in Belgium! (source:

    Robert Poort, editor of MVG-Mormonen voor Vrede en Gerechtigheid (Mormons for Peace and Justice)

  2. Brad V. says:

    Bertrand abandoned the Red Party because “they were lulled by socialist dreams.” Sounds like he viewed Mormonism as better than communism.

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